British Columbia cracks down on crypto miners, citing energy consumption

The Canadian government of British Columbia is advancing measures to regulate electricity consumption by cryptocurrency miners due to concerns about high energy use and limited economic benefits.

On April 11, Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, stated that the province is addressing the high energy consumption associated with cryptocurrency mining in the region, which, she noted, generates minimal job and economic opportunities.


According to the ministry, the legislative amendment would allow the government to prohibit or regulate the use of electricity by cryptocurrency miners. This is because the sector’s “unchecked growth” may make it expensive to supply electricity to homes and companies.

The province announced in December 2022 that new electricity connections for cryptocurrency mining would be suspended for 18 months.

Indeed, approximately twenty-one projects, which had collectively requested 11,700 gigawatt hours of power annually, were temporarily halted.

According to a local article, Minister Osborne stated that the province is collaborating with British Colombia Hydro, the provincial power utility, to secure adequate electricity for the province’s future.

“That includes regulating electricity service for energy-intensive cryptocurrency miners that create very few local jobs.”

A provincial Supreme Court concluded in February that BC Hydro’s embargo on crypto mining operations was ‘reasonable.’

Following Quebec and Manitoba, British Columbia became the third jurisdiction in Canada to put limitations on cryptocurrency mining in December 2022. BC has stated that it will not authorize new mining connections to its electricity system for 18 months.

Osborne stated at the time that the provision was intended to preserve electricity, mainly for “electric vehicles and heat pumps, and for businesses and industries that are undertaking electrification projects that reduce carbon emissions and generate jobs and economic opportunities.”

British Columbia ranks as the fourth greatest electricity producer in Canada, boasting an approximate generating capacity of 18,250 megawatts (MW).

However, according to an assessment by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, BC poses a risk to future power generation reliability. The report indicates that generation constraints and rising demand could become problematic by 2026.

As reported on March 24, 2024, a similar shift is occurring globally, including in Iceland, where Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir recently unveiled plans to pivot the country’s renewable energy efforts from crypto mining to agricultural development.

The development aligns with British Columbia’s current strategy to reallocate energy resources to more sustainable and economically beneficial sectors.

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